So, Charlie the turkey is kind of an odd duck. Or maybe he’s totally normal for a turkey. I’ve never had them until this last year. It’s a wonder Charlie ever has time to eat, because he displays and displays and displays. If I sit down in the poultry yard, he’ll dance around me and gobble for hours. Lately he’s lost a lot of the feathers on his chest, and some of his tail feathers. I just figure he’s starting to molt.
Charlie has been quite sad, as both is girlfriends, Gracie-Mae and Peggy Sue, decided to make nests. But the nests were NOT in the poultry yard. So Charlie had no one to mate with, and no one to display to (though a chicken makes a good substitute in a pinch. To display to. NOT to mate with. Sheesh. Twenty five pound turkey on the back of a five pound hen. That would not be fun for the hen).
Earlier in the year, I hatched out some turkey eggs in the incubator. I sold some of the babies, but kept three. Those teenaged turkeys (I think they are all girls) are now about 8 weeks old. Charlie has totally adopted them, in a Papa kind of way. When I put them out in the yard when they were about 4 weeks old, he would stay with them. When I came out in the evening to lock everyone up (Charlie refuses to go into a pen at night and roosts on a horse panel gate arch in the poultry yard) I’d find Charlie on the ground with the little ones, snuggled in and keeping them warm. Yesterday, the teenagers were on the other side of the fence, out in the pasture. Charlie doesn’t go out into the pasture (he can, he just chooses not to). But he was pacing along the fence line fussing until they came back into the yard.
These birds ARE his progeny. Though I doubt he knows that. I just think he’s trying to impress his future girlfriends. I had NO idea that a male turkey would take an interest in the child rearing. Pretty cool.
Meanwhile, Gracie-Mae managed to hatch out 9 eggs in the flower bed on the 22nd of June. And then Peggy Sue hatched out 3 on top of the hay pile on June 27th. Two more of her eggs hatched in the incubator, after she had abandoned them. So we put everyone together in the back yard, which is fenced, and free from dogs. (Though the two incubator babies are now being surrogate mothered by a chicken who also has one chick that hatched at about the same time).
Gracie has lost three. We don’t know for sure how, though the neighbor’s cat is an obvious suspect. But we currently have nine baby turkeys and two Mama’s living in our back yard. And everyone is growing and doing just fine. We put food and water out for them, but mostly they forage in the grass and flower beds. The flower beds are the worse for wear, but I’m pretty happy about the babies. It’s been pretty fun. I have a couple of people interested in turkey babies, but I don’t want to take them away from their Mama’s too soon, or they will just try to renest. And as fun as this has all been, I’m SO done with babies and eggs.
And, the unnamed Khaki duck hatched out her brood of six around the 18th. After a week or so, we let everyone out into the poultry yard, and the babies had their first swim. So danged cute. The little ones have figured out how to slip under the chicken wire I have lining their pen, and so they are out when the sun is up. Meanwhile, Mama is stuck inside until I come and let everyone out, and she fusses and fusses until she is reunited with her little ones. They are a mixed crew. All have Ancona daddies, but the mother’s are a mix of Rhoen, Khaki and Ancona (one brown and white, one black and white). I think there is only one pure black and white one in the bunch.
Here’s a short video of all of them out in the field.
Meanwhile, it’s been crazy hot. Most of the Pacific Northwest, and a lot of the rest of the country, was hit by a serious out of season heat wave. First we had rain, then we had three days over 100 degrees. Yes, you can say steamy. I put a 2 liter bottle of frozen water in one of the rabbit cages, and the two rabbits rolled it around with their noses until they got it just where they wanted it, and then lay down lengthwise next to it. Who says rabbits are dumb?
Least you think I am the perfect gardener, this is what 1 3/4 inches of rain and then lots of heat will do to the grass in your carrot patch. Imagine this 3 feet wide by about 40 ft long. I’m giving up on organic on this one and resorting to a product with sethoxydim in it. I won’t be able to harvest the carrots for 30 days, but if I don’t do something, I won’t be able to harvest at all. By the way, this ingredient is NOT on the Pesticide Action Network list of “Bad Actors”. And this kind of grass incursion is just beyond my physical stamina to tackle. I’ve been dealing with it all over the garden in patches. It literally has to be cut out below the root line with a knife in order to pull it out. (It was too wet to hoe it out, and then it was too big, in like, hours). It’s either spray, or abandon the bed altogether. And after terrible germination early in the season, I just can’t bring myself to give up on this second crop, which did eventually come up well.
The peas are totally done. After rabbits eating them, replanting 3 or 4 times, gophers going through and eating them from the bottom, and now some kind of disease, plus three days of 100 degrees, it’s just time to give up. I’m leaving the rest on the vine to mature and will save the seed for next year (once I determine that the disease is not viral and carried over in the seed).
I DO think I may have manged to save the kale from the aphid infestation though! Perhaps 100 degree heat is good for discouraging aphids? Plus I sprayed twice with a mix of pyrethrin and a foliar fertilizer. They seem to be coming out of it.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2013, where we’re doing our best to beat the heat, and have reconfirmed that our sweat glands are working JUST fine, thank you very much.